Alonso: It's the stopwatch that counts


Fernando Alonso has dismissed claims that his age and the fact he has been out of F1 for two years will work against him, insisting that "the stopwatch is the only thing that matters".

When the two-time world champion lines up on the grid in Melbourne (or wherever) next season, he will be 39. Assuming Kimi Raikkonen is still racing that will make the Spaniard the second oldest man on the grid, ahead of Lewis Hamilton (36), Romain Grosjean (34) and Sebastian Vettel (33).

"I saw Formula 1 for many years, the stopwatch is the only thing that matters," he said in a video conference shortly after Renault had confirmed him for 2020 alongside Esteban Ocon. "Not the age.

"I never had a classification on the race based on the passport's date of birth," he continued, "always on the stop watch."

"I think last year, especially, it was a very, very active season," he said. "This year it is the same for everyone, Formula 1 did one race in Austria, I did a three-week race in Dakar, the world had stopped for several months so we are all in the same conditions.

"I think last year between all the endurance racing, IMSA, WEC, Dakar preparation, I was behind a steering wheel nearly every week of the year.

"I feel ready and I feel that I'm at 100 percent in terms of driving, physically as well," he added, "I had to rebuild my body, I had to start very specific fitness preparation, I think we started in February, so now I'm 100 percent.

"We did a couple of fitness tests fifteen days ago and I had the best results ever in my career so I'm extremely motivated, happy, and stronger than ever."

During the conference, team boss Cyril Abiteboul was asked if choosing the Spanish veteran over young talent rising through Renault's own junior programme sent out the wrong message.

"I can already expect that our decision could be seen as a lack of interest or loyalty towards our project of the Renault Sport Academy," he replied. "It's not.

"We are very serious about the academy," he added, "very serious about those two people in particular," he said, referring to China's Guanyu Zhou and Denmark's Christian Lundgaard.

"I'm sure Fernando, like Esteban, has lots to bring to their development."

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Published: 08/07/2020
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